A Personal “Goodness of Fit” Test for Your Next Relocation

A Personal “Goodness of Fit” Test for Your Next Relocation

The conscious decision to open or close a life-changing gateway is an emotional process.Before an international relocation (or a domestic one, for that matter) every component of the decision is weighed countless times over.Potential consequences from each path and direction are analyzed from all angles. The immediate, intermediate, and long-term effects are mapped out.A mental logic model takes shape with short and long-term inputs, actions, and outputs.Plans A, B, and C are discussed at length and their potential to lead us down pathways D, E, and F are meticulously plotted.What helps, but is not always possible, is a visit to your new destination in order to conduct your own Goodness of Fit test.What is Goodness of Fit?In statistics, the Chi-Square test is also known as a "Goodness of Fit" test and it measures the distance between two independent variables. You state your hypothesis, collect your data, analyze the numbers, and interpret the results.The Chi-Square formula itself (shown below) is not...
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This is not the country I grew up in and remember

This is not the country I grew up in and remember

This should not be hanging in my soon-to-be-kindergartener’s classroom. pic.twitter.com/mWiJVdddpH— Georgy Cohen (@radiofreegeorgy) June 6, 2018Columbine High School's shooting happened when I was a sophomore in high school (10th grade). I remember sitting in the sunny second floor classroom in Dr. Gomez's Spanish class and praying that if we ever had an active shooting, that it would happen when I was in his class.Dr. Gomez had sat through the staff meetings, read the lockdown protocols, and came up with his own protocol—one that would keep us safe.He had his stuff together.With the efficiency of a former tactical military officer, which he wasn't, Dr. Gomez explained exactly what would happen in case we had an active shooter.He assigned our three strongest boys to move his metal desk in front of the door, and the four kids sitting by the windows to cover them—something that went against the lockdown protocol entirely."Blocking the windows goes against my instructions, but my responsibility as your...
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The “Right” Number of Kids

The “Right” Number of Kids

How many kids do you have?" the dental technician asked me while her latex-gloved hands were working inside my mouth. I could feel her knuckles against the inside of my lips, expertly moving the mirror and probe from tooth to tooth.Now really isn't the right time to be having a conversation, I thought, but I made a noise that sounded like "two" as much as I could and held up two fingers above the paper bib lying flat on my chest."Oh, two, that's a lagom number. Two is perfect. I also have two kids."I know that this woman was only trying to make small talk with me while she scraped the plaque off of my teeth, but it struck me as somewhat of a rude conversation to be having with anyone, let alone a stranger. Who is she to be saying two is the perfect number of kids? What if I wanted more but couldn't have any? What if I secretly wanted...
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Looking for trash, volunteers discover streets are super clean

Looking for trash, volunteers discover streets are super clean

Determined to "clean up the streets" a small group of volunteers in a suburb outside of Stockholm, Sweden, struggled to find trash to fill their bags. Armed with gloves, oversized trash bags, and water to stay hydrated in the hot June sun, the group wandered along the pedestrian paths searched for anything to grab using their trash pickers.Occasionally, one volunteer yipped with joy after discovering a plastic cup had fallen out of a trash can. One stepped-on grocery store receipt was picked up and placed into the nearly-empty trash bags. "What are you guys doing out here working on a Saturday?" one man sitting on a bench asked the volunteers."We don't work for the kommun; we're here to clean up our community, sir. You have a nice day."Except the community was already quite clean."Just seeing people out and about picking up trash on the side of the road might encourage others to be more mindful of picking up after themselves..." one...
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Monday Morning Emails May be a Future Preview of Our Lives

Monday Morning Emails May be a Future Preview of Our Lives

Every parent is afraid they are making a mistake when raising their children—abroad or domestically—and Jo Parfitt and Terry Anne Wilson are no different.In their book, Monday Morning Emails, they often question if their decision to move their families frequently throughout their children's childhood results in their children's inability to cope with difficulty.Monday Morning Emails is written by two women through the lost art of letter writing (in this case, email letters), results in heartfelt and intense revelations about their personal and family lives.As their children head off to university and navigate the world as independent adults, both women are faced with circumstances that are compounded by long distances and frequent travel.Jo Parfitt describes the tear she feels between needing to be supportive of her son with caring for her elderly parents. "I have to be strong for the kids who have never lost anyone close and for my mother who hates being in charge. I'm starting to set several plates spinning. For...
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A Vehicle: A Partnership

A Vehicle: A Partnership

The headlight beamed into our garage. It is after 9 p.m. and my husband, and I have been working on the front end of our cranky Volvo for at least two hours.Successfully self-conducted car repairs would be considered a victory if we still lived in Atlanta, GA because I always enjoyed saving money but to do it in a foreign language gave me a boosted sense of accomplishment.Boo ya! We solved a problem and didn't damage our relationship in the process. Teamwork, baby!Like so many issues we've experienced in our partnership together, I viewed this headlight repair as mini capstone project representative of our lives abroad.The Warning MessageIt all began after I noticed a warning message in Swedish on my dashboard after I picked up my kids from school."Lampfel halvljus"Two words that I deduced meant that one of my lights was out, but which one?Happily assigned with a task, my six-year-old son eagerly hopped out of the car to report...
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Blended Baby: Learning to Love Your Partner’s Family Background

Blended Baby: Learning to Love Your Partner’s Family Background

One of the best things about having a baby with someone you love? Your little bundle of joy is lucky enough to be half you and half your partner—whether by nature, nurture, or both.When you look into those big twinkly eyes, you may just catch a glimpse of your better half. Of course, your little one won’t just inherit beautiful peepers…every cultural custom, tradition, and practice of your partner and accompanying family comes with the decision to have a baby with this person.Whether you share the same cultural background, or are from different sides of the world, every family is different. Every family is “blended”.Having two families involved in caregiving can be wonderful. Our little ones are exposed to new ideas, learning opportunities, and of course, twice as much love!That’s not to say that melding two unique family perspectives is always a walk in the park.Keep reading......
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The Differences Between Then and Now: Reflections on Integration

The Differences Between Then and Now: Reflections on Integration

Over the past six years, we have become a murky blend of less-American-but-not-quite-Swedish.We've kept some of the old but mostly, we have embraced the new.The differences between January 2012 (back then) and January 2018 (now) are stark. Stark also conveniently translates into "strong" in Swedish.The changes in us are noticeable only when we take a moment and conduct a brief mental compare and contrast exercise. Otherwise, everything feels normal, as it should.Back then...and now...Back then, we kept our feet firmly on solid ground even when the lake froze over. We'd marvel at the bravery of those heading out on a skating expedition from Stockholm to Uppsala (80 km/50 miles).Now, we see people skating on the lake and hurry home to grab our skates.Once there, we are greeted by friends we know who warn us that two people have already fallen through the ice. Instead of leaving, we simply tell our kids to avoid the area with weak ice.I...
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A Beautiful Death: Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pet

A Beautiful Death: Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pet

Living with an elderly pet is like playing a game of Jenga. As each player removes a block from the tower and stacks it on top, the entire structure starts to sway. Each move makes the tower more unsteady. After enough turns, the tower collapses and the game is over. Similarly, every day with an elderly pet, in my case, our elderly dog, felt that same stressful anticipation as near the end of a Jenga game. The blocks were going to fall any moment. It was only a matter of time. The changes happen slowly. Eventually, they stop doing the things they used to love to do. It is easy to blame a lot on their elderly age and to provide them excuse after excuse for why they aren't as active as they were before.But the reality is that at some point, they stop living. I mean, the pet is still alive but they are a shell of their former selves....
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My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

Steninge Slott's Julmarknad is always a fun trip out to Sigtuna, Sweden.The Christmas market is housed in the stone barn behind the 17th Century palace and the interior is stunning.The vaulted ceilings of the barn give it an airy atmosphere and illuminated advent stars hang from the ceiling begging to go home with you.Our favorite purchases usually involve buying a paper sack of candied almonds and some warm glögg while we walk around the property among the tree-lined pathways.However, Steninge Slott's rustic charm is undergoing a bit of a renovation and the grounds are currently under construction with new housing development on the property.No longer do you feel like you are on a large estate property but now you feel a bit like you're intruding on people's backyard.Another change from years past is that Steninge Slott now sells furniture and home decorations year round. The inventory for this new business has pushed the crafts and local vendors who participate...
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